4.30.2008

Special Treat!

Hey guys, I've got something really special for you today!

Learn how to make a chicken puppet!

Impress your family with your adequacy!

Ogle your husband's bum as he retrieves barely-used kitchen implements from the high shelves!

It's all happening here.


***

4.27.2008

The Cult of Phil & Ted's

I am on one side of the street, she the other. I see her coming from about half a block away, her silhouette distinctive.

As our trajectories cross from opposite sidewalks, we acknowledge one another – a knowing, friendly smile. It is a greeting not unlike the ones that bikers, or at least vintage v-dub owners, give each other on the road. It’s like the peace sign Deadheads would flash each other as their stickered-up, hotboxed Honda Civics leapfrogged the highway on the way to the next show.


If we had been walking down the same side of the street, we would surely have stopped to chat – congratulated each other on our shared consumer savvy. We would have looked at each other in the eye and simply said, ‘It’s great, isn’t it?’

We love our stroller, and we’re not afraid to admit it.

If anybody had told me three years ago that I would be recommending – nay, gushing about - any stroller, let alone one that cost about $600, I would have told you that were smoking crack.

But that was a long time, and two children ago.
Today, I have joined the cult of Phil & Ted’s. I am a proud member. This stroller is it. I’m not afraid to declare my love. Not anymore.

It’s funny, because when I first saw this stroller, in all of it’s two-seater glory, I was the smug new mother of a single baby who was being pushed around in a practical Graco that had a few fringe benefits, but not too much to brag about. I could not believe what I was looking at –

The baby’s practically on the ground!
At the very least, she’s sitting in the basket!
The two kids never get to interact!
Dogs could lick that baby’s face!
That mother does not love her children!

And for almost two years I pushed my child in my practical Graco, whose wheel would occasionally fall off, and whose molded plastic tires made heavy work of our snowy Toronto winter walks.

And then I became pregnant with Dove, and I went into research mode.

Tandem! Side-by-side! Jogger! Umbrella! Used! New!

The double-stroller options were endless. And they all sucked.

I gave them a chance, trust me, I did. I shlepped Chris and Bee to every high-end, low-end, mass and boutique children’s store in the city to test-drive doubles. Bee sat, I manoeuvered and Chris lifted into our hatch. Nope, nope and nope. They seemed to only be available in three sizes – huge, massive and gargantuan, and three weights – super-heavy, holy fuck, and not-on-your-life.

With each of these strollers, I felt like a midget behind the wheel of a semi, and knew that none of these would do. I was beginning to consider one of the most expensive as the only option, and even then I knew I would be unhappy.

And still, at each store, as the strollers and their price-tags got bigger, I shunned the P&T. ‘Hate it.’ I would say decisively, refusing to even give it a whirl around the store.

Until one day…
It was nearing the end of autumn and my pregnancy. Me and Chris dropped Bee off at my mum’s for the afternoon and went stroller shopping. Again. I took Chris to a larger, very well-appointed baby store where we were determined to make a choice.

Not sure if it was because I was feeling particularly open-minded, or particularly worn down, but we tried it.
The saleswoman was so kind, and patient.

And the stroller rocked.

I fell. Hard. Harder than I did for River Phoenix when I was twelve and he started to cry in Stand By Me.

Don’t know if it was heartburn or excitement, but I felt it. This was the one. With every glide, every hairpin-turn, every trial fold and after insisting on shlepping it folded, with one hand, down an aisle, I was hooked.

And it fit in the hatch. And Chris’ parents offered to pay for it.

And it came in blue camo, which I thought was very hip without being TOO obvious.

And now it’s mine. All mine. Ok fine, and Bee’s and Dove’s and sometimes Chris’ too. But mostly mine.

And someone recently dissed my stroller, and I was ready to pounce. But I know now that she just didn’t get it. She didn’t understand.

But we – we stopping each other on the street to share our maternal and consumer joy, we understand.

We speak as proudly of our stroller as we do the children 5-point harnessed in them. We talk about how we ended up with our colour choice; how we wanted bright apple green but the huz wanted conservative navy, so we split the difference on the blue camo and are now the hippest mama on the block – without being too obvious, of course. We talk about these strollers as though we had a hand in creating them.

We attract attention wherever we stroll with our spiffy design, and beam when able to take a first-time discoverer on a tour of all its ingenious features. Our children dutifully smile and look adorable, adding to our sense of righteousness. It’s sad, really, but I can’t help it.

And it’s not a status thing, I assure you I could care less about that. My smugness, my righteousness comes from a place of purity, of revelation, born of hard-work and diligence and investigation, and finally, of surrender.

I am a convert, and I thank the kind Kiwis for solving my double-stroller dilemma. Just one question, though – just one itty-bitty little complaint about what could be seen as an oversight, particularly to the mothers that had their children fairly close together and haven’t slept in oh, about three years –

You included a nice little strap so the thing can’t get away from you; the rain cover and the sun covers fit like a glove and you can even fold it up without removing the toddler seat.

But honeys - a cup holder for my coffee. Would it have been too much to ask?

And now I see that there is a new design - something about a Vibe, and I think it has a bigger basket, and what if I should have waited for that one, and why wasn't I on a mailing list or something, and, and, and, what if --

Ok, I must calm down. I've already copped to being a convert, but really; nobody likes a stroller zealot.

We'll leave that to the Bugaboo pushers.


***

4.26.2008

Toronto, You Suck.

A fucking TTC strike. No 48 hours notice, no ratification of the deal we were all on pins and needles about for the last two weeks.

And just in time for The Green Living Show.

Nice job.

Save us, Adam Giambrone.

***

4.24.2008

A Few Fun Things

Miscellaneous things going on ‘round Casa Kgirl:

Bruise-Coloured Glasses?

Bee walked up to me recently, bottom lip turned out, shoulders hunched (she’s dramatic). ‘Mmm, mmm.’ she whimpered.

‘What’s wrong, love?’ I asked.

She pointed to both her knees, upon which she had fallen while running earlier in the day.

‘Roses.’ She answered, perfectly mournful. I was puzzled. ‘What roses, honey?’ I inquired.

She lifted up her pant legs, showing me twin black and blue little splotches. ‘Roses.’ she sighed.

Ahh, indeed. I gave her my most dramatic, sympathetic look, and a hug. She skipped away happily, roses already forgotten.

***

I keep forgetting to link on Wednesday, but over at Playdate, I’m talking about how to make food choices that do our body, and our earth, some good. Go on, have a nibble.


***

Toronto area bloggers, I’ve got something for three of you. No, really, I do. And it’s good. It’s an advance copy of Petite Anglaise, by superstar bloggerCatherine Sanderson!.
I know! Cool, right?

Wait! It gets better! With the free book you will also get an invitation to a blogger’s brunch launch party on June 6, where you will enjoy great food and great company with some of the city’s best bloggers.

Wait, it gets better! We will also have the honour of a conversation with Catherine via satellite! How cool is that?

What are you waiting for? Email me! Kgirlto at gmail dot com.

***

4.22.2008

Think Globally, Eat Locally - A Book Review in Three Parts

Originally published last fall for MBT. Reprinted today because it's relevant, yo. Happy Earth Day.

Part 1: The Prose

Think Globally, Eat Locally. That’s the prevailing edict to be extracted from Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon’s engaging account of their year of local eating, and the subsequent ‘locavore’ movement it has inspired.



Adapted from the pair’s blog , The 100-Mile Diet (published, ironically as Plenty in the U.S. despite the use of Imperial measures) is the telling of a Vancouver couple’s quest to reconnect with the food that they eat, the land that they inhabit, and the frightening impact that food production and distribution has on our planet. It is a stark reminder of how far removed we are from the food that we consume, and just what destruction occurs in the chasm between field and table. Am I scaring you?

I hope I’m not, because The 100 Mile Diet, written in a conversational, he said/she said leapfrogging of the two authors’ voices, is more celebratory than sensational; more discovery than despondency, and more about success than surrender.

And while the idea is remarkably simple – eat (almost) nothing but food produced within a 100-mile radius of where you live for one year – the challenge proved to be anything but. I know, by now you’re saying, ‘See? It’s impossible to do. Especially in a place like Toronto where we live under a blanket of snow 7 months of the year.’ But bounty was not the couple’s problem – once they began investigating and educating themselves, they realized that there is a lot of delicious, seasonal, different and desirable food waiting outside the grocery store walls. The challenges were more about overcoming the notion that food gathering and preparation is an inconvenience, as well as adapting to a diet that did not include sugar, citrus or anything processed.

As the challenge evolves, we are treated to a veritable cornucopia of gastronomic victories, exciting agricultural discoveries and enough domestic bickering to keep the reader involved, invested and inspired.

Alisa and James complement each other as writers, and, I would assume, as partners; Alisa possesses a dry wit and somewhat dour demeanour that is often buoyed, but just as often annoyed, by James’ enthusiasm, insight and sensitivity. I have to admit that I developed a bit of a literary crush on James while I was reading – and once I saw the pair in person, I was even more smitten. He’s a charmer, that James, as the room full of middle-aged members of the Aurora Environmental Action Committee, me and my bff will attest to. (Side note – after the presentation I had to re-read the part about James wading naked in a Northern BC river, incorporating my yummy new visual) But I digress – the point is that the pair was as engaging in person as they are on the page, and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing of their post-experiment life. You might be surprised to know that it still consists of almost all locally produced food. All-in-all, a delicious read, although, I hope it’s not thought-provoking – I hope it’s action – provoking.

But we’ll leave that for Part 2.

4.17.2008

Eat Me: Soup's On

I like my soup like I like my men – rough and easy. Or wait… maybe that’s how I like my faux finishes… anyhoo, that’s definitely how I like my soup. No clear-brothed, delicate pansy-assed soup for me, no thanks. Maybe it’s the Laura Ingalls fetish in me, but I think that if one is going to bother to make soup, it should be hearty, filling and robust. It should feed you, dag nab it. (sorry, that’s more of the pioneer fetish talking.)

Keep reading...


For the record - I'm not a dietician, chef, nutritionist or farmer. I just like eating good, healthy, fresh food. And I like bossing people around. So now I have a food column. Obviously.


***

4.15.2008

Get Lost

Ok, I am so late to this party that even the girl in the white jeans doing the shopping cart to Flo Rida has hooked up with the drunk frat boy that had previously been using her as target practice for flinging beer caps, and left.

That’s how late I am.

Nevertheless, this is a good party. Me and the huz are enjoying it immensely, and before I go on, a warning, please:

If you ruin it for me, I will spam your comments with poetry from my grade 10 diary. I mean it, people; any spoilers and your inbox gets it. And I was very dramatic when I was 16, so it won’t be pretty.

Kol beseder?

Ok. So here we are at this party, and holy moly, we are enjoying ourselves. Sorry? What party, you ask? Well, if you haven’t already guessed, we are watching Lost.

From the beginning, on DVD.

Every night.

For about 4 hours.

I’m tired.

Partly because we are staying up too damn late – and this is my fault; I am almost always the person to suggest, ‘Just one more!’ as the credits roll and the clock blinks midnight.

And partly because I then lay awake for a while, digesting the mystery overload I’ve just consumed like too much leftover potato salad late at night. (oy, the heartburn.)

I mean, seriously – this is a good show. It’s so creepy, and every episode leaves me with more questions:

Why is Sawyer so mean!

Why aren’t there more alpha-dogs fighting for leadership!

What’s in the woods!

Is Claire’s baby going to be ok!

How are we out of raisin bran already!

Anyway, you know, because you’re like two seasons ahead of me. Believe it or not, I have managed to absorb almost zero buzz about this show (I’ve been busy, people), so we’re watching it with virgin eyes, which is great.

But now, like most people that get to the party really late, I want to know if you guys had fun – who do you think is the hottest? (I’m thinking Kate – you with me?) Do you love the show? Did the drunk frat boy fall asleep before the girl in the white jeans had a chance to...

Ahem, let’s leave that last one alone, shall we? Because really, all I’m interested in at this point is my couch, my snack, my husband to hold my hand during the scary bits and explain things to me (I’m tired, remember?), and the remote.

Press play. Time to get Lost.


***

4.10.2008

Eat Me

Yeah, you heard me.

I'm such a freakin food guru that I decided to write about all matter of gastrodelicio subjects, and somebody actually let me.
So, if you're in the mood for a cup of helpful information mixed with a dash of decent advice and a pinch of sarcasm - oh yeah, and a whole bunch of good food for your brood - check it out.



(I promise the food puns/analagies/similes/metaphors end here.)


oriental salmon, wildest wild rice and steamed veggies. now we're cookin.



p.s. my food photography? needs work. but the food? yum.
***

4.04.2008

7lbs, 7oz

The Original Perfect Post Awards 04.08

When Bee was born, she weighed 7lbs, 7oz. More than a week overdue, I felt that was quite a respectable size, especially for squeezing her out in a non-medicated home birth.

Always wee, Bee was in 0-3 month sizes until almost 6 months, and at one year weighed a whopping 16 lbs. It took over 2 1/2 years for her to triple her weight, and now, one month away from her third birthday, size 2 pants are beginning to stay up. She weighs almost 25 lbs. She’s tiny. She has a great appetite, but she’s simply tiny.

Apparently I was exactly the same way, and I turned out healthy enough, so neither I, nor our trusted doctor is concerned about anything. It’s just who she is, how she is and she’s gorgeous.

When Dove was born, she weighed 7lbs, 7oz. Nine days overdue, she was small enough to still be able to do cartwheels in my pelvis and had to be delivered via c-section when she decided that she was laying down sideways and that was that.

She lost almost 10% of her bodyweight in the hospital, but by time we got home 4 days later, she was a pound above her birth weight.

Somewhere along the way, my milk turned to cream, and at 4 months, my little Buddha is easily filling 6 month sizes; has outgrown the 0-6 month Robeez that Bee wore for 8. She will no doubt have to be moved out of the bucket and into a bigger carseat months earlier than Bee did.

Currently, 7lbs, 7oz separates my 4 month old and my 3 year old.

If anybody had told me that my girls would be so different, I would have shook my head and told you that you were crazy. I thought that I only had tiny babies, and freaked out when I realized that my newborn stuff was all for a spring baby, concerned that I would have little for my early=winter baby to wear.

I needn’t have worried. I don’t worry. One of my girls is tiny and graceful and petite, and happily, not as delicate as she looks, and gives fierce hugs that belie her wee stature. The other is roly-poly, full of dimples and squishyness and sometimes gets a sour milk smell when I realize that what drips into the warm folds of her pudgy neck does not see the light of day until the next bath.

It’s tremendous to witness these differences, and these are purely the physical variations. Each day the differences – as well as the similarities – in their personalities become more clear, more familiar, more tremendously fascinating – but that’s a post for another day.

For now, I’m going to sit on the floor and make room on my lap for both my babies. So different, these two, but both grown from my body, fed from my body, so much a part of my body that sitting together, we’ll feel like one. I’m going to sit with them leaning back into me, and I’m going to wrap my arms tightly around them and whisper my love – love that is as perfect as they are – into their sweet, delicious heads.



***

4.01.2008

I Like To Move It Move It

Last night I went to the gym and did my 30-minute workout instead of pretending I was going to the gym and having my 30-minute latte at Starbucks.
Seriously, what the hell is happening to me?

On top of that, I seem to be shedding 2 pounds in between each visit. Ok, don’t get excited; it is most likely just boob fluctuation owing to the timing of nursing/weighing in, but still – it’s encouraging, y’know?

So encouraging that I keep freakin going back. Back to the sweating, the pedaling, the pushing, the total focus – and that’s just to get myself there.

I know that many of you – you keener, athletic types – are shaking your heads and wondering what the hell makes me think I’m so big just because I am exercising. But those of you that KNOW me are shaking your heads because you are wondering what happened to the real kgirl – the one that does not like to run, sweat, get bossed around or wear spandex.

Rest assured that she is still here, friends. And she is still not wearing spandex. In fact, one of the reasons I joined this gym in particular is because a) it is only for women but it is not the right-wing pro-life fascist don’t-even-get-me-started Curves, and b) I can show up in cut-off sweats, lululemons that give awesome camel toe or a t-shirt with coffee stains on it and not feel like a total shlepper. I mean, I have great sneaks for working out in (I am a girl, after all), but I am not good at looking put together, particularly at the gym, where I feel like I am about to be torn apart anyway.

Oh yeah, and did I mention the front ass? That was about all the motivation this once-skinny bitch needed to start really moving again.
And by golly, it’s paying off. You know, until very recently I basically had no idea what my c-section scar looked like, because my paunch kept it hidden from view. Now, I can actually see it when I look in the mirror, and I’m making friends with it. I’m happy to see it. It means the ass is shrinking. I mean, I likes me some bootay, but I want the junk in my trunk, not hitched up front like a silly old-school vw bug.

The other thing is that I actually feel good when I’m done my workout. Once I’ve caught my breath and high-fived my coaches, I feel pretty darn great. Like I can go back home and keep up with my kids for a few more hours, or at least eat a bowl of cereal and watch Project Runway without falling asleep before the winner is finally revealed. (Yay, Christian! Holla!)

So, will I keep this up?
We’ll see. History says no; front bum says yes.

I’ll keep you posted.

***